I'm not sure what kids these days watch. What with the electronically whiz-bang games of the video, pogs, phones with ether powered telephony, it's a topsy turvy mixed up world I say. But back when I was just knee high to a grasshopper, I'd regale/waste/vegetate/expose myself to the Hasbro-Mattel-PlayDoh marketing conglomerate during my Saturdays.
What Gen-Xer doesn't have fond memories of indoctrinating themselves with the characters and mythos of feature length cell animated commercials for toy products made in the Taiwan? Our parents comforted themselves in knowing that at the end of almost every single show, there'd be some sort of Life Lesson. Perhaps a "Stop drop and roll", "Don't talk to strangers", "Crack cocaine and crank don't mix, usually", or the always ubiquitous "Don't give into peer pressure" (in a cartoon that features all the robots emblazoned with the same symbol).
Ah, those were the heady days, the days of yesteryear, when a sasparilla and moonpies could be had for naught but a sixpence and a penny. Back when ideals were taught and ignored. Well, mostly ignored. The last example I gave was driven into my skull so many times I try to at least vaguely follow it. It's much easier now, since there really is no peer pressure in the nerd riddled world of programming and adulthood. Except perhaps the "Wouldn't it be better to come to work WITH clothes on, without drool coming down your chin, and not totally wasted?", the jury is still out on that.
So imagine my delight when I had the opportunity to show Optimus Prime and perhaps Bumblebee that indeed, I would not give into peer pressure. I would not let the Decepticon of character destruction impinge upon my right to 'be myself' (what if my true self was nothing but a sniveling sheeple of a person, happy to follow the path of least resistence? OH RIDDLE THOU ART GI JOE).
You see, for some odd reason, my work encourages non-work related activities to promote teamwork and bonding such and such. As if hacking through arcane PL_SQL and 10 layered enterprise code isn't enough. Imagine! In this case, it was that game of games, soccer, or football, or THE ONLY GAME THAT MATTERS to anyone who doesn't live in North America.
Now I had been signed up for this by a coworker of dubious moral standing. I have no doubt he has a top hat and waxes his moustache in to curls when not plotting the demise of damsels inf distress on railroad ties. Well, paragon of virtue that I am, I quickly emailed the organizer to inform him that I was not, my evil coworkers insistence notwithstanding, going to participate. Seeing my utter lack of coordination on the field of sport was not something I relished nor something I wanted to subject my fellow geeks to.
The organizer came over my cubicle and the exchange went something like this.
"So, you're not going?"
*everyone bursting from various cubicles and ceilings and the ground a la a Fraggle Rock number, or possibly a West Side Story song and dance ("When yer a nerd you're a nerd for your life, little geek roll that dice, better hope it's a 10")* "YOU"RE NOT GOING?"
This is more than stereophonic sound. This is multiphonic sound hooked up to a 8 speaker relay of questioning quizzical coworkers.
"OH COME ON, COME ON OUT!" Then numerous temptations regarding gin and such.
But the ghosts of so many Mattel inspired cartoons came to my aid. Aye, I may not have much, but I do have my own sense of anti-social tendencies. I can at least hold onto that. My ancestors didn't kill the mastodons and struggle from the cradle of Africa for me to tormented and subjected to normal human social interaction. Perhaps even some sort of cardio-vascular exercise! THE HORROR.
"No, you can just cross me off"
(See previous comment about fraggle rock).
This continued for a while until the masses got bored of my usual social aversion-ness and let me be. Oh, joy of joys. I have at last followed the wise words of that now long since forgotten writer of children's cartoons in the 80's. His life was not in vain. I shall not breathe fresh air, nor shall my neuroses be mitigated by balanced and healthy human discourse.
Optimus would be proud.